Storytelling Campaign: First and Forever by Dr. Martens

Your First

Dr. Martens #FirstandForever storytelling campaign

I’m always on the lookout for storytelling stuff. On my walk home the other day I passed the downtown Portland Dr. Martens shoe store on Burnside. There was a sign in the window that read, “EVERYONE REMEMBERS THEIR FIRST TIME. TELL US ABOUT YOURS.” Beside that was a QR code.

The ad was for their #FirstandForever campaign. At the Dr. Martens website, a video commercial features young, tattooed lovers being romantic. There’s also a big yellow “share your story” button on the page. The premise is that customers can win merchandise by telling a digital story about their first pair of shoes or something related to the Dr. Martens lifestyle. Here’s some copy from the site:

No such thing as a free lunch? I’m afraid so. If you want to be in with a chance of winning one of the many pairs of DM’s, gig tickets and other goodies on offer over the next year, you’re going to need to tell us some stories.

Your first love, your first festival or tales from your first proper bender - either way, it’ll be a good trade. Keep your eyes on this page as we’ll be regularly launching new competitions. Good luck.

I have mixed feelings about customer generated storytelling. Typically, fans gather around a topic organically. They build community by sharing authentic stories with each other. In this case, customers are brought together at the source of the product and the motivation for their storytelling is a free prize. Their tales may or may not be genuine. But who cares? While the work produced by DM’s customers may very well be a veiled plea for a free pair of shoes, some of the stories are quite interesting. Below is an entry by Mary Henjes:

My First Pair of DM’s 16. It was Christmas and my mom had just been diagnosed with incurable cancer. She wanted to get me something that would last that I would remember her by. She and the boots are still going strong.

After seeing that, it can’t be denied that customer story generation is a great way to get semi-organic commercials about a product out and onto the web. Inside of each story is a testimonial. It totally makes sense. It’s cheap and effective. Some get elaborate like this good example. What company wouldn’t want a blog post like that sitting on the Internet?


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